Here, finally, are some pictures of the lexan cb we made. This cb is the result of months of thinking about how to make something undetectable by children. In order to do this, the waist strap had to be flexible, so that they could not feel it when they hugged me. The shield had to be low, and padded, so that they didnít feel it when they sat on my lap. The lock had to be low profile. After the months of thinking, there were weeks of haunting hardware stores and riffling through the Yellow Pages looking for materials.
After a failed attempt with a flexible shield, I knew the shield needed to be rigid. I have no metalworking skills or tools, so felt stuck until I was inspired by Norbertís lovely plexiglas belt. I decided to try lexan instead of plexiglas, because I was worried by the possibility of breakage, and also the difficulties in cutting or drilling plexiglas.
The shield you see here is of 3mm lexan. We did not know how to work with lexan at all, really; we got a little advice, and did the best we could. Lexan is tough stuff. It bends at a very narrow temperature range. We made an outline out of paper, transferred it to the lexan, and cut it out with a coping saw. We made a plaster cast of me (that was fun, by the way!), by covering the relevant area with those plaster strips you dip in water (with some plastic wrap on me first!), and then pouring plaster into the resultant shell. We were hoping that the lexan would become flexible enough to drape itself over this object, thus fitting the cb to me perfectly. However, there was perhaps a moment when the lexan was heating in the oven when it softened up enough to do that; it was extremely brief, and we missed it. No matter how much we heated it after that, it would only bend under pressure. If I was to do it again, I would put the lexan over the mould in the oven; perhaps that would work.
In any case, we got roughly the right curvature by heating and bending it over and over and comparing it to the mould. This kind of bending can make stress marks in the lexan, which is an esthetic issue mostly, and one we werenít too worried about. As it turned out, it was not quite enough, and I will have to find a way to bend it a little further. Because the angle is too shallow, it presses on my pubic bone.
The slit was cut after bending, and the holes for the rivets were drilled. The straps were fastened on, and fastened to each other, with rivets and Goop. The rivets are nickel, for use on leather. I looked at the stainless steel rivets in the hardware store, and they looked too huge and difficult for me, so I stuck to what I knew. Two of the rivets you can see on each side of the lock are left over from a failed attempt at at a fastening arrangement. They were too difficult to remove, so I left them there, and figured they were decorative. They serve no function.
The straps are made from the edges of a thick clear plastic carpet runner, NOT the spiky part! I thought it would go with the clear lexan. However, it does tend to stick to me, and I will probably have to line it with neoprene after all. The edging I did put on is the kind of stretchy rubber tubing used to exercise; I understand itís surgical tubing. We cut the tubing along itís length, and put it on with superglue.
The waist strap goes forward over my hips, down toward the shield, which comes to about an inch above my pubic hair. The straps end with nylon-coated galvanized strapping which we found in the hardware store (those brown metal strips with holes in them). We experimented a bit before we hit on this locking mechanism.
The lock is called Sea Dog. I found it at a marine supply store (my thanks to whoever suggested it). I was looking for stainless steel hasps and happened to find it. The lock is not a round key type; the key is a quite ordinary flat one. The cost, I think, was somewhere around $15-$20 Canadian.
As you can see, the belt is adjustable; the holes in the metal strapping fit over one post which is screwed in from the back of the shield. The hasp covers the post and prevents the metal strapping from coming off. The design was partly inspired by CB Phile's ideas.
The padding that can be applied is closed-cell foam. I had some difficulty finding an adhesive that would allow it to be added or removed from the belt. I ended up using cut-down pieces of weatherstripping, also a CB Phile idea. I donít know if it will work in the long run.
I have had a child in my lap who has not notice the belt. The foam should feel more or less like flesh. Summer clothes may make it more of a challenge.
I am still working away at making it more comfortable; it needs a bit more bending, some slight reduction in width in a couple of spots, and probably some neoprene. Iíll keep you posted.
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Page last updated 99-Jul-04 by: Altairboy@aol.com